Our Ongoing Projects

New Species

Sunken Gardens is exploring the acquisition of a new bird species.  The acquisition would support our mission of historic preservation as the species under consideration were valuable parts of Sunken Garden’s history and were used in early marketing of the Gardens.  The foundation will help fund the purchase of a new species when a final determination is made. The new species will be revealed once the bird has been received and integrated into its new home.  

Tropical Bird Aviaries or Exhibits

During its early heyday, Sunken Gardens featured exotic animals in the many faux-stone exhibits on the property. The exhibits are still there, but the animals are no longer in residence at the Gardens.  Now Sunken Gardens hopes to reimagine the structures as new habitats for several of the beautiful tropical birds and perhaps for some new species. The project requires some restoration and redesign to meet today’s high standards for animal care. The Foundation has committed to supporting part of the cost. Once specifics are in place, we will seek your help with that project. 

Developing SGFF Capabilities

In 2019, SGFF launched a strategic initiative to expand our capabilities by recruiting new board members with expertise in fundraising, communications, finance, leadership, and project management.   Since then, SGFF has added several new members and further raised its visibility in the community through our website, a quarterly e-newsletter and the use of social media including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.

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Our Accomplishments

Animal Care Center and other Animal Support

In the first half of 2023, construction began on a new animal care center.  This beautiful facility allows staff to provide the highest level of animal care, and was designed to meet zoological standards and guidelines. It includes areas for food preparation, night holding, veterinary care and a specially designated quarantine area for new animal acquisitions.  

The foundation contributed to the bird aviaries that are used to house the birds at night in the Animal Care Center. 

Additionally, the foundation provided approximately $20,000 for the delivery and assembly of several new, bird aviaries for the visitor viewing areas in the garden.  These new aviaries replaced the existing aviaries that were in disrepair, provide more space and enrichment opportunities for the birds and allow guests to better enjoy the birds at Sunken Gardens.  

We are proud to provide this support for the animals under the Garden’s care and to advance the mission of Sunken Gardens and the Foundation.  We thank our many donors who helped make these contributions to the Animal Care Center and bird aviaries.  

History Center

Rendering entrance
Architect’s rendering showing the History Center, exposing what was once the entrance to Sunken Gardens. Today’s visitors will continue to enter from 4th Street and the Gardens’ parking lot.

In keeping with its historic legacy, Sunken Gardens created a History Center in the original 1940 entrance, a building that until recently housed the Garden’s tropical birds at night. The birds now have new nighttime accommodations and the building has been restored. The new History Center features exhibits showcasing Sunken Gardens’ history and its important role during the era of Old Florida roadside attractions.  Sunken Gardens Forever Foundation donated $100,000 towards the cost of renovation of the building. 

In addition, the Foundation provided $20,000 toward the purchase of video equipment and displays. Our financial commitment and letter of support helped Sunken Gardens to secure a state grant of $50,000 for the development and production of exhibits that will tell the fascinating stories from the Gardens’ history. 

Restock the Flock

Our very first project – initiated by a dedicated and creative group of Sunken Gardens volunteers – was to raise funds to acquire 20 Chilean flamingos. Thanks to YOU – our generous donors – Sunken Gardens was able to “Restock the Flock.” The flamingos are once again one of the Garden’s star attractions!

Children’s Book

Sophie & Zack at Sunken Gardens 

SGFF raised $35,000 to publish and distribute the book to all Title I third graders in St. Petersburg.  In collaboration with the Pinellas County School System, Sunken Gardens’ volunteers read the book to students in the classrooms. Students then have a special guided tour of Sunken Gardens, with transportation costs paid for by SGFF.

This project had just been launched when the pandemic hit, so the three-year plan for distribution has been interrupted. We hope to resume school visits in fall of 2023.  You can also find copies of Sophie & Zack at Sunken Gardens for sale at the Sunken Gardens Gift Shop.

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